Monday, August 5, 2019

Irish Adventure - Croagh Patrick

5th Aug 2019

On the 28th May we climbed "Ireland's Holy Mountain" - Croagh Patrick. And yes, we got to the top, which was no mean feat. It was one of the must do's I had on my list on our recent trip to the Emerald Isle, along with visit an uncle in Mallow and a writer in Innishannon, travel the Wild Atlantic Way and make a pilgrimage to Knock before the end of May.
We managed all this and more. 
It was while we were in Knock that we decided we might give the Holy Mountain a go, as we weren't that far away.
Well rested after having camped for two nights at the Shrine ( mostly we did wild camping to keep the costs down), and after a breakfast of bacon and eggs, we left the campsite and parked down by the Basilica to go to Holy Mass.
My favourite place at the Shrine is the Apparition Chapel,  where a larger than life  vision of Our Mother with St Joseph and St John are represented . I don't know what I expected from the Pilgrimage, but apart from our own prayers that we came with we were blessed with so much peace, which was only reinforced as we started to hear the story .
The priest in confession told me he likes to reflect that Mary, who spoke no words to the visionaries, is to him, Our Lady of Silence. That each one takes away their own message. I liked that and it was certainly true for us.
I really felt that our going to Knock was a particular call from Our Heavenly Mother, and  that we left having been given many graces and blessings
One day I will return.

Now we were ready to be off, but not before we filled up with petrol. Oh dear, a problem, our travelcard wouldn't work. Panic! As I searched manically for my purse, my heart rate rising , I said  a quiet prayer that I had enough cash on me.  Amazingly, as I'm not in the habit of carry much money on me,  I did - just.  My shoulders relaxed as the immediate tension was over, but why didn't the card work and what would we do without it?
Hubby  thought it could've been affected magnetically because it was  next to his phone in his pocket. 
We returned to  the campsite where we knew we'd  be able  to get wi-fi,  so he could try and get into the account to see what was up.
Half an hour later, frustrated and anxious after many failed attempts to speak to someone , finally he got into the account. Apparently, all the systems were down and it was nothing to do with us after all.
Well, that was good news.
However, to make sure it was working we called in at a little shop to get some Rosary Beads for two grandchildren making their First Holy Communion this year. It was a good call, as I hadn't been organised enough to get them before and to have them from the Shrine would be really special.

At last we are headed  for Westport, a beautiful little town and the nearest one to Croagh Patrick.
To be as ready as possible for the challenge, which we're not sure we're totally up for, we decide we will stay on a campsite. That way we can shower,  relax, have the top up ( we don't do that when we're incognito) and not worry whether we might be moved on.  

The next morning was a perfect day for the climb. Not much wind and clear skies, although a chap at the campsite had done it the day before put us off a little by  telling  us how difficult even he, a seasoned mountaineer had found it . We shouldn't even try he said unless we were used to mountains.
Well, we're not.
 It didn't help, that when we turned up at the bottom of the mountain there were mountain rescue teams - there all the time it seems, for fools who think they can do more than they actually can.
We stood looking up, in our walking boots, supplies of drink and rainproof gear in our rucksacks and decided that we'd give it a go. I mean, we were here now.
It's not that it's the highest mountain, it's more that the sharp rocks and shale, and the steep inclines are relentless.
The last part is the steepest and for some of that I literally crawled on hands and knees, thinking I could easily fall off the blessed mountain.
What on earth were we doing, I thought , as legs, arms , back, head all ached and I realised that we had to make it down too!
From the top, which when we got there, felt really amazing, you can see  354 islands  in Clew Bay. Well, let me tell you, I never counted them.
Coming down was as bad as going up . No wonder Christians used it for penance. We definitely suffered. Two people were carried off the mountain by helicopter the day we did it.
And , you know what, it could of been us.
It was hell of a climb.
We were too tired to even cook a bit of dinner , only having fresh bread with butter and jam . We parked up for the night around 7.00 pm , looking out to sea, so glad we'd achieved our goal.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Irish Adventure

11th July 2019

Adventures in Ireland

We are home now, got back five days ago, although our ferry docked in Pembroke very late the Tuesday before. We spent a few days seeing children as we made our way to our own house and our own bed. 
Not that we missed the bed, we sleep very well in the camper, thank you.
 Nor did we miss the house, now a good advertisement for "The Day  of the Triphids" - the weeds were literally two feet high and that was just after nine weeks. 
And when one of the children said , "are you EVER coming home ?" after about the sixth week.... well, we were very nearly tempted not to.
Here I am at the farm, now derelict , where my grandmother was born and grew up and yes, it's raining. It is the Emerald Isle, after all. But not even the rain put a damper on my imaginations as I thought how I'd like to live here and look out at the same mountains that she looked out at all those years ago. Unlike the house, which has no firm foundations, my roots go back a long way around these parts. The years merged closer as I Imagined Nan when she was a child playing with her brothers and sisters . So much space to roam. 
I am glad to be home.
Happy to see the children and grandchildren - there's only a few left to see and then we'll have touched base with them all.
But, we had the most amazing adventure in Ireland, so we did.
More to come - hopefully, when I get more time. Odd how you can be so busy just living.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Angel of the North

10th April 2019

Poem A Day in April -Day 10

Have missed writing a poem a day for April this last week.
Couldn't work out how to get to my blog . I was being asked for a password which I vdidn't remember.
This morning , not sure what happened, but I'm in!

Angel Of The North

Perched on this hill reaching for the sky
Seen for miles around, standing so high,
You are a sign of unity and togetherness
Strong and tall, For mighty Northeast
Yet also,
A beacon of warmth 
Throwing open your arms of welcome.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019


2nd April

A poem a day in April:

Using the promp of asking quRoadtrip


Is that the sun hidden
behind the mist,
As my joy dwells deep within
Shadowed by an endless
"To do" list?
Did we pack jumpers,
It's still "that time" of year,
To warm chilly words
That might escape?
While we bumble along
On this
Roadtrip of life.
Did we include the food,
To nourish and sustain,
To take away the strain,
To keep us fit and strong?
Will we last forever,
Or is that too long?

Monday, April 1, 2019

No Chicken

1st April
Now it begins- napowrimo.
Day 1

No Chicken

You sit on the cold pavement
wrapped in your colourful sleeping bag
trying to keep the cold at bay
this crisp March morning,
next to the steps
that lead to the the doors
 of the small church.
Your hands, knarled and gritted
with the road,
 reach out in hope.
Your eyes find a  corner
of my soul-
"Are you hungry?
Can I get you a sandwich?"
"Yes, thank you..."
Is that an Albanian accent
"What kind would you like?"
I won't make the choice for you.
"Chicken please..."
"No chicken left , what about
 ham and cheese?"
"That's fine, Thank you"
You are polite.
You take my hand.
I wish I could take you home.
I sit with you,
talk for a bit,
then leave to go home to my
centrally heated home.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Three years ago today

11th March 2019

I don't usually share writing from my journals, especially on my blog, which obviously, gets seen by so many people.
But I make an exception today.
Three years ago today a grandson was born - he was neither the first child nor grandchild, but when I heard the news early in the morning I had to go to my journal. Looking back, I'm surprised by the joy of it, considering it was only a month after my mum died.
I copy exactly as I wrote it, unedited, bearing in mind, it's a stream on consciousness.

11th March 2016

Well, what news, there you are , another new addition!
Baby Walker, born 4.25 am this morning. What lovely news.
We will go over later, for a few hours. New life, new hope - that
makes twenty one grandchildren now and what is to be is yet to be revealed.
I just wonder what the family will look like in ten or twenty years time. No doubt there'll
be more grandchildren, but also more great grandchildren.
What a blessing it is, our large family. And each new addition so precious.
Your tiny hands, baby,  that will one day perform that many tasks of life. That cheeky smile that says,
"Heh, it's good to be here with you guys!" Those chubby legs that will eventually get into, goodness knows what, mischief as well as kicking a ball and running with brothers and sisters and cousins.
Who does he look like? Seeing the family genes in each of his delicious expressions.
And don't cry, baby, we're all here for you.
What will you be like? How tall? What will you like to do? What will you be good at? What kind of person will you become?
We love you to bits already, even though we haven't met you yet. Your softness calls to us to hold you close, showing you how the world can be comfortable, safe and kine. You might learn otherwise later.
But for now, for you, the world is wonderful.
And I am your Grams. Hopefully we'll get lots of time together to get to know each other. Hope fully, I'll be blessed with many more years of life, so I'll be able to enjoy you own family, if you have one,  in the future.
I wonder what your brother and sister will make of you. Livi has been looking forward to your coming for such a long time now. She'll be over the moon with you' I'm sure.
And your dad, his heart will melt , he'll fall in love with your obvious likeness to him, part of him. He'll love you with his life.
And of course, your mum will be so happy.
See what joy you bring to the world.  All your aunties and uncles, cousins and other relations there for you, loving you already. You are one lucky little boy. And still no name yet, though it is early days. "Baby Walker" - we laughed at that this morning, at the pun.
As I get older I get more sentimental about our family. It becomes more important and my hope is that I see more of all my children ( those with or those without children ) and all the grandchildren. I'll have to make plans....